The Rise of the Space Faerie: Discovery - Part Four
Laimane leapt to her feet in an instant, sheltering the
child against her body with one arm as she extended her other. "You picked a bad
place to start a fight, Dorefska!" she shouted, squinting from the blinding light.
She could feel the vines growing behind the stone walls of her secret room begin
to squirm, all of them planted in case she was ever attacked here…
A short burst of gruff, humorless laughter reached
her. "Dorefska? Oh no. Dorefska would have mercy on you. I won't."
The voice Laimane heard almost startled her more
than the thought of an attack from her enemies. "Ramyn?"
The light slowly ebbed away to reveal a tall,
imperious light faerie. Rich, clay-colored hair tumbled in loose curls past
her shoulder blades on to her chest, accenting tan skin and powerful light brown
eyes; a small gold tiara engraved with a star surrounded by a ring of flame
rested just above her forehead. She had a small, tense mouth and wiry, compact
hands that gripped the opposite arms in a crossed position across her chest,
and her tall frame radiated both contained fury and authority. Her dress was
an admirable combination of simplicity and elegance: pale yellow with thick
straps and a high, curved neckline, it fell to her ankles and accented her figure
without being restraining.
Inwardly Laimane gave a sigh of relief. Though
temperamental, Ramyn was undoubtedly an ally: she had been the one who had left
the key in the candle. "You felt it too," she stated, meeting Ramyn's strong
eyes with her equally determined ones. "And so did the others. You felt the
need to go out tonight as strongly as I did. So why did you try to stop me?"
She paused, and then added, less fervently, "Why didn't you go yourself? I would
"Thought what? I'd want the adventure after so
long? That'd I jump at the opportunity to risk my life again?"
Shaking her head but saying nothing, Laimane
edged her way past Ramyn into the room she had built years ago for the purpose
of these meetings. The floor was covered in cool, blue patterned tiles, the
walls were built of a pale white stone and were dotted with multiple shaded
candles, all of which were lit. The room was unadorned except for three very
different chairs and a small, beautiful marble fountain spurting clear water
into a shallow basin in one corner of the room.
The fountain's purpose would be unclear to any
visitor unless they saw the fountain's use, which was made clear now by the
young water faerie reclining in it. She was even more stunning than Ramyn, with
extremely pale blond hair, tightly spun into thin curls and fastened by a loose
bun at the back of her head so that bunches of ringlets fell to frame her thin,
pale face. Her eyes dominated her features, their sheer size overwhelming her
other extremities, and their color making them eerie to behold: the unadulterated
shade of the sky on a cloudless summer day, they were the eyes of one who saw
Another faerie, an air faerie, occupied one of
the three chairs: a large, cushioned seat the color of an emperor's robe. She
too was eye-pleasing, but less strikingly so, with thick, blond hair the color
of morning sunlight brushing her shoulders and pearly blue eyes tinted with
lavender. Her clothes were light and a lovely cerulean blue, and consisted of
a loose blouse with draping sleeves and a flowing skirt, both of them trimmed
with bronze thread. The faerie lay sprawled out comfortably in her seat, as
if she had no care in the world, her bare feet dangling inches off of the floor
and the pale, thistle colored shawl draped around her shoulders hanging off
of one arm. She had a shy, sweet smile, which she directed at Laimane when she
caught her looking at her.
Laimane grinned back, undisturbed by Ramyn's
glare she could feel piercing her back. "It's good to see you again, Asha."
The air faerie said nothing, but smiled again,
her light eyes almost glittering with mirth.
Sighing with relief, Laimane sank into her own
chair, an oak rocker, and addressed the light faerie without looking at her,
"Ramyn, sit. Giving me the evil eye isn't going to help anything, or make me
understand what you're so angry about."
"She doesn't know!" Ramyn's temper, which she
had barely been able to contain, burst out of her without warning. "She puts
me…all of us! She puts us all in danger, wandering the streets in the dead of
night, threatening everything we've managed to forge in a decade…a decade! Ten
years! Ten long years!" Her face flushed more and more with each word, giving
her the curious appearance that her hair was threatened by the possibility of
bursting into flame.
Laimane frowned. "What did I threaten? I followed
my instinct, and it's never lead me astray, or any of us astray. Do you really
think whatever power gave us our gifts would try and unmake a decade's worth
of work?" She turned to the other two faeries for support and found that neither
of them would meet her eyes. Asha was sitting up strait now in her chair, the
glee gone from her eyes. The water faerie's eyes were closed, but Laimane could
tell she was listening to each word closely.
Ramyn, who had remained standing through her
rant, sat in her own chair, looking at Laimane intently, with no sign of anger
now. "Do you know who this child is that you found on the streets, Laimane?"
"A savior." Laimane did not shrink from the questioning,
but she could feel a shiver penetrate her spine. She gazed tenderly at the child,
who lay sleeping in her arms. "What more do we need to know?"
"How far into her future did you see?" Ramyn's
voice was even more strained, the need to hear Laimane's answer burning through
her normal self-control.
Laimane's eyes darted to the tiled floor, but
she could not refuse to answer Ramyn's question. "I saw myself, raising the
girl. I saw the end of her childhood. I saw it end with fire, fear and…a loss."
Laimane raised her eyes to meet Ramyn's and found
an expression there she had rarely seen before: pity. "And what beyond that?"
"A city in space, armed with the doom of Neopia.
And a faerie, a faerie with hair like twilight, legs like the stars around her,
and skin like bronze."
Ramyn nodded. "Presumably the child."
"Absolutely the child. I know it. And she was
the only thing that could stand in the way of the city in space. She has powers
that no other faerie has."
"Like what?" Ramyn could not hide her incredulousness.
"Like the ability to go into space! What faerie
can travel outside of Neopia? And you are part of it Ramyn." Ramyn showed no
emotion. "She fought with the stars! With light and fire! You are the only faerie
I know of who can control both elements. You must help me to teach her." She
gave Ramyn a pleading look. "Please."
Ramyn remained stoic. A voice from another corner
of the room answered Laimane for her.
"What you say is true, Laimane. The child must
be raised, and by the right people. This is why you were called into the streets
of Faerieland tonight. To find this child, take her home, and secure the hope
that she will save Neopia one day." Laimane turned to meet the eyes of the water
faerie, whose gaze was kind and understanding but full of hidden meaning. "But
you have forgotten one thing: our instinct serves the greater good, or some
form of it, as far as we can tell. It will do anything to manipulate us to its
will. Keep secrets from us, give us obscure possibilities of the future…"
"This was no obscure possibility! You of all
people would know that, Sutri!"
"I didn't mean it that way." Sutri's voice was
emotionless, but her eyes displayed pity, just like Ramyn's. She hesitated,
and continued, "What Ramyn cannot say must be said: you did not see the entire
vision. We did."
There was a silence that penetrated Laimane's
bones. None of them would meet her eyes now, Ramyn, Sutri or Asha. Struggling
to keep tears from forming, she diverted her gaze to the faerie in her lap,
slumbering peacefully, not knowing her fate was being discussed. She had to
say something, but she couldn't imagine what she could say. The paleness that
had appeared in Ramyn's dark cheeks told her that whatever her companions had
seen had broken heir hearts, and would break hers.
Asha spoke now. "No ones blames you, Laimane.
You were right, like Sutri says: we must do something. It's just…forgive us,
Laimane, but we are afraid." Laimane was horrified to see that Asha's eyes were
now flooding over with tears. "There was a vision…of a castle, crumbling to
the ground. Two of the cornerstones were missing. One other was cracked beyond
repair. One stayed intact."
Laimane's lungs were dry; she couldn't breathe.
"No…you must be mistaken, you must be lying…I would have seen it!"
"No." Sutri spoke again. "You didn't see it because
if you did, you would have never gone to find her. You would have never taken
"How…" Laimane's voice croaked with despair.
She turned to Ramyn. "You knew! You told me not to! And all you had to saw was
that! It was that simple! Why didn't you?" She too, was weeping now, her fresh
tears warming her chilled cheeks. Asha leapt out of her chair remove the child
from Laimane's arms, hushing her as she took her farther from Laimane's outburst
so she wouldn't wake up. "It wasn't you, was it? Oh, Ramyn, it was you, wasn't
it?" Ramyn stood and held Laimane close, but it didn't help. "Please say it
Ramyn said nothing as she held Laimane, her closest
companion and ally for nearly ten years. They had saved each other's lives uncountable
times, and Laimane had become the sister Ramyn never had, and yet never had
she seen Laimane in such deep despair as she was now.
None of them knew how long they stood there,
frozen in time, Ramyn comforting Laimane, Asha cradling the girl in her arms,
Sutri watching from her fountain with her wide eyes.
Laimane finally stopped weeping, her voice shaking
but clear. "I'm not going to see you again, am I?" she asked no one in particular.
"Any of you."
Ramyn raised Laimane's face so she was looking
her in the eye. "You knew that from the beginning," she whispered, not unkindly.
Laimane nodded glumly and detached herself from
Ramyn's grasp, heading to retrieve the girl from Asha. As she settled her into
her arms, she could not avoid the carving on the back wall of the room, the
image of a castle resting on a cloud, surrounded by four symbols: intertwining
vines, a star and a ring of fire, a shell in the midst of a pool, and a cloud
above a mountain peak.
"I have to leave here," she said, addressing
no one in particular, cradling the faerie in her arms. "And go to Mystery Island.
We don't need this room anymore, and it's not safe for us here." She shifted
uneasily. "But I'll take my garden with me."
Ramyn nodded. "I'll make sure that the house
doesn't attract suspicion. No one will find this room if I can help it."
Laimane nodded. She wasn't afraid of that happening.
"We'll be in touch." Sutri turned off the spigot
that was spouting water into her fountain. "I promise." With a small smile she
whispered a spell and was gone with a swish of the water still in the basin.
"It will be all right," Asha promised, even though
she knew it wasn't true. With a cautious hug, making sure she didn't disturb
the child in Laimane's arms, she too murmured a spell and was gone in a rush
Only Ramyn was left. She stood close to Laimane,
preparing to leave her for the last time, when she was struck with a thought.
"What will you name her?" she prompted. "The child?"
Laimane looked down on the faerie in her grasp,
still sleeping with an angelic smile on her face. "Astrona," she said softly,
as the faerie shifted. "That seems right, I think."
Ramyn nodded. "Sutri is right, you know," she
comforted. "No one can truly ever separate us."
Laimane nodded dumbly. There was no denying it.
"And we will see each other again." Ramyn's voice
Laimane meet her eyes pleadingly. "Do you really
"Then we will."
It was Ramyn's turn to nod. "Goodbye Laimane."
She hesitated. "Goodbye, Astrona."
In a flash of light tinged with flame Ramyn was
Laimane was quiet for a moment, as she gazed
about the room, which was now empty and cold. "Come, Astrona," she said, speaking
to herself more than to the child. "It is time to move on."
Laimane turned her back on the room and did not